When you consider how the public might rate municipal service functions, code compliance probably wouldn’t rise to the top. Police and fire represent a clear and recognizable public safety benefit, but we don’t often credit just how important our inspectors are to the service of public safety. Just how crucial a function was illustrated by a recent incident.
Late on Friday October 28th, Sanitary Code Inspector Aurea Rivera performed a routine inspection related to a complaint. The complaint was for trash accumulation and lack of electricity. When she arrived at the property she detected the scent of natural gas and identified possible building code issues. She called in Building Inspector Shaun Shanahan for assistance, who also confirmed the smell of gas within the house. They immediately notified fire department and the gas company and assisted in the evacuation of the building. The building was found to have multiple gas leaks, missing or inoperable smoke and CO detectors among other serious life safety deficiencies.
It is no exaggeration to state that both the fast action of Rivera and Shanahan and the team-approach utilized for this case averted a real tragedy. At a minimum, their actions helped prevented serious harm or possible death of the inhabitants including two children and two expectant mothers from carbon-monoxide poisoning. The gas leaks also posed a significant explosion/fire hazard that could have resulted in the loss of both life and property of the inhabitants and neighbors.
“I hope you will join me in acknowledging a job well done,” commended Bernie Lynch, City Manager, “ Though this type of work is performed on a daily basis by all our inspectors, we feel this is a shining example of both the focus on service and the strength of the team in Development Services.”